Monday, October 5, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Cycle 4 ~ Week 1

Photo Courtesy of Thomas MacEntee and used with permission.

Genealogy Do-Over: Cycle 4 ~ Week 1

For the first week of the Genealogy Do-Over Cycle 4 ~ Week 1 the goals are to (1) set aside our previous research, (2) begin preparations for our research and (3) establish base practices and guidelines.

I participated in the original cycle of the Genealogy Do-Over back in January because I wanted to learn, plain and simple. I am self taught when it comes to genealogy so I knew I picked some bad habits and I felt this was a good way to learn the proper techniques. I set aside my research, I made preparations and set up my base practices and guidelines.

During the original cycle there was so much information and all of it was like one great big bright shiny object! I would start my research for the week and would find a new piece of information I had not previously heard or seen and down the rabbit hole I went. Hopefully, I am better prepared this time around.

A few weeks ago, I posted on my blog about why I wanted to repeat the Genealogy Do-Over. So, why I am back for Cycle 4 of the Genealogy Do-Over? It is because there are more specific and concentrated areas I want I want to focus on. 

Previous Research:

I set aside my previous research and did not touch it again until July. I decided that it was time to do something with it. So with trepidation and a little courage I went through each and every piece of paper. I ended up throwing out roughly 60% of my previous research! You may be thinking I am crazy or that I have lost my mind? Trust me, I am not crazy nor have I lost my mind. Through this purging/genealogy housekeeping I found that it gave me the freedom to literally start again with fresh eyes and no preconceived ideas. It is a great feeling.

Here is a list of the papers/records I kept during this genealogy housekeeping event. 

  1. I kept only files that belonged to major surnames in the families I am researching. 
  2. I kept all B/M/D records or certificates that I have collected/paid for with no exceptions.  
  3.  I have kept all of my research notebooks since 2009. At some point I want to scan them and attach them to each individual in my genealogy database. 
  4. I kept printed pages from Ancestry, FamilySearch and other archives & libraries that had source citations. 
  5.  I kept only printed or digital pages/images from books that had the actual title and call numbers so that I could properly source the information I used from them.

I am ready to start! My desk is cleared and my mind is open to new possibilities. I don't have a lot of preparations to do at this point since the purging of my old research. Since I am technically challenged I like to keep it simple. I have finally found what works best for me and how I process information.

My notebooks are ready, I have printed out a stack blank pedigree charts, information extraction forms, research planning & tracking forms and a variety of others if needed. Every notebook has the major surnames I am researching on the front. However, because I stack them in a corner of my desk at the end of the day they also have a label on the side. Actually, it is post it tape and I write the same information on it as the front, making it easy to find.

I have added a few new research books to the stack on my desk. These are done by categories (cemeteries, military, slave owners) for projects of special interest to me and/or subjects that allow me to write about my genealogy and participate in such projects The Slave Name Roll Project by Schalene Jennings Dagutis, of Tangled Roots and Trees and The Honor Roll by Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy through my blog.

Practices and Guidelines:

These are the Practices and Guidelines I established for myself in January and they still hold true today but with a few tweaks here and there.

  •  I will not assume any information without evidence and/or supporting documentation. 
  • I will not assume that information on line is completely accurate but will document it and record it.
  • I will do my own research and not rely on the genealogy information that has been passed down as fact.
  • I will include any and all siblings, aunts, uncles, and other spouses as they are just as important to my research and will be important the further back I go. This is where the F.A.N principle comes in as well.
  • I will gather as much evidence and/or supporting information as I can because one piece of information does not equal proof or evidence.
  • I will go over every document multiple times until I am sure that I have gleaned all the details no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.
  • I will track my progress and I cite my sources as I make each discovery.
  • I will ask for help when I need it and I will be here for others in my genealogy community should they require assistance from me.
  • I will practice Random Acts of Kindness within my genealogy community as others have done for me.
  • I will share my research and/or information with others who are researching the same families.
  • I will be consistent in recording data with both paper and some digital formats.
  • I will back up my data daily (which I have set it up for the 30th of every month).
  • I will conduct new interviews with all family members. 

If you would like to see my original week 1 post you can see that post here, Genealogy Do-Over, original cycle 1. If you would like to know why I am repeating the Genealogy Do-Over you can see that post here, Why I am Repeating the Genealogy Do-Over and if you would like to read the post about my genealogical housekeeping event you can see it here, 1, 2, 3 Out it Goes!.  

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